Historic Columbia River Highway Tours
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Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway was the first scenic road in America to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is particularly noted for its colorful displays of fall foliage and its many waterfalls year-round.
The route allows for access to the Columbia River Gorge, which cuts more than 4,000 feet deep into the Cascade Mountain Range. Rich in both animal and plant life, the area along the road is home to more than 100 rare species, some that only exist in the gorge. Various hiking trails dotted throughout offer access to otherwise hidden waterfalls and views.
The highway was modeled after the scenic roads of Europe and has been long recognized for its excellence in engineering and design. Most of all the road is a path leading into some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. Outside of its wide vistas and expansive overlooks, hiking, biking, fishing, and sailing are all popular activities to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature.
The Historic Columbia River Highway is located on I-84, about an hour’s drive from downtown Portland. Fall colors are brightest in mid-October and waterfalls most scenic during Spring. The route begins at exit 17, from the historic town of Troutdale, and runs for 75 miles. It takes 3-5 hours to drive in full.
Address: Columbia River Highway, Oregon, USA, USA
4 Tours and Activities to Experience Historic Columbia River Highway
Experience highlights of the Portland area on this full-day sightseeing tour, including the blossoming food cart culture, diverse neighborhoods, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and the unspoiled beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. Immerse yourself in a guided tour of Portland’s fascinating history and quirky contemporary culture.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
The 85-mile (137-km) long Columbia Gorge NSA would be a national park if it weren't a critical transportation corridor. It features waterfalls, mountains, monoliths, terraces, resort towns, vineyards, orchards, and The River, harboring a plethora of fish and birds, and unique plants and invertebrates. In the early 1900s, Portlanders would drive their Model T cars along the Columbia River Highway to gaze at waterfalls. It was the first scenic highway built in America. There is said to be over 4000 waterfalls; many are hidden away, but many are just a short hike off the Historic Highway. On this tour you'll explore the western, rainforested, southern side of the Gorge, dubbed "waterfall alley" where we'll have you getting wet under a waterfall, peering over cliffs, and learning stories of the area only the locals know.
The 85-mile (137-km) long Columbia Gorge NSA would be a national park if it weren't a critical transportation corridor. It features waterfalls, mountains, monoliths, terraces, resort towns, vineyards, orchards, and The River, harboring a plethora of fish and birds, and a community of plants and invertebrates that changes dramatically going from the west end to the east end. Overlapping this is the Columbia Gorge AVA, the lovechild of the Columbia Valley and Willamette Valley AVAs. You will get intimate with The Gorge through hiking, wine tasting, and a visit to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum. Your expert guide, with formal background in ecology, natural resources, and wine, will teach you about the natural history, cultural history, and wine background of the area. The guide will feel out the group’s physical abilities and tastes in choosing 1 to 3 hikes and 2 wineries. We cover lunch, you cover tasting fees.
Mt. Hood is the highest summit in Oregon, and the fourth highest in the Cascades. It features waterfalls, glaciers, and historic Timberline Lodge, built by local artisans during the Great Depression, and featuring the longest ski season in the US. To the north of Mt. Hood is the Hood River Valley. You will get intimate with this area through a visit to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, fruit stands in the Hood River Valley, downtown Hood River (your opportunity for lunch and/or alcoholic beverages), and breathtaking stops in the eastern and western Columbia River Gorge (Multnomah Falls included). Your expert guide, with formal background in ecology and natural resources, will teach you about the natural and cultural history of the area, as you drive the Mt. Hood and Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byways. Maximum group size of 11. Pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Historic Columbia River Highway?
The best ways to experience Historic Columbia River Highway are:
- Portland Sightseeing Tour Including Columbia Gorge Waterfalls
- Explore Columbia River Gorge Half-Day Small-Group Tour
- Columbia Gorge Hike, Wine, & Discover
- The Hood-Columbia Loop: Timberline, Orchards, and Waterfalls
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